Swell Alert: East Coast Lights Up Under Powerful SSE Groundswell

15 Jan 2018 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

COASTALWATCH PLUS EXCLUSIVE | SWELL ALERT

Issued Monday, January 15, 2018

Surfing conditions across the East Coast transform from a virtual swell-famine through early January to an absolute feast this week. The evolution of a deep mid latitude low is now well underway over the southern Tasman Sea. The complex system set up 20 to 30kt southerly fetch offshore on Sunday and Monday before further intensifying over a region located about 550 nautical miles southeast of Sydney. Monday saw core wind speeds increasing to 30 to 40 knots across it’s western flank and this area of gales will continue to expand throughout the southern Tasman Sea as the low further deepens on Tuesday.

Your chances of finding anything this big and clean along the NSW coast aren't great this week, but just about everywhere will turn on at some point over the course of this event. Photo: Michael Hogan.

Your chances of finding anything this big and clean along the NSW coast aren't great this week, but just about everywhere will turn on at some point over the course of this event. Photo: Michael Hogan.

The subsequent swell-reverberations will rock the entire East Coast over the next few days; generating large, stormy surf in the 6 to 10ft range across the more south facing beaches on Tuesday and Wednesday, while wrapping in north of the border at still powerful 3 to 6ft levels for several days.

Rather than providing detailed conditions for each and every region (for this, see the detailed forecasts for Sydney and the Coast here, the Mid North Coast here and southern Queensland and far northern NSW here), here’s a summary of the best surfing-windows across the East Coast over the next few days:

An impressive Tasman low reaches peak intensity on Tuesday before slowly weakening over the region from Wednesday to Friday. Powerful SSE groundswell will follow in its wake for days to come.  Source: BOM.

An impressive Tasman low reaches peak intensity on Tuesday before slowly weakening over the region from Wednesday to Friday. Powerful SSE groundswell will follow in its wake for days to come. Source: BOM.

Sydney and South Coast pumps on Thursday and Friday
While sheltered southern corners should offer up good options as the swell peaks under strong southerly winds on Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday morning is easily looking like the pick of the bunch. Southerly winds are set to back off and turn light west just in time for Thursday morning, making for still wobbly, but reasonably clean SE groundswell still ranging from 4 to 8ft across the region, with a slow easing trend to follow throughout the day. If this still sounds a little on the heavy side, Friday morning should also be offering up some excellent 2 to 4ft SE swell under early light offshore breezes. Stay tuned to Wednesday’s detailed forecast for confirmation on these conditions.

Latest virtual buoy readings for Sydney show the impressive size and duration of the coming swell. Once southerly winds ease and turn west on Thursday morning conditions will light up across most of the NSW coast.

Latest virtual buoy readings for Sydney show the impressive size and duration of the coming swell. Once southerly winds ease and turn west on Thursday morning conditions will light up across most of the NSW coast.

Mid North NSW sheltered points and bays to pump Wednesday to Friday: Northern NSW points offering sufficient shelter from the prevailing southerly winds and SSE swell will see good to great conditions for several days straight. However, Tuesday is likely to see still raw conditions, with a stronger southerly bias in swell direction and less organisation in the swell under near gale force southerly winds. As swell direction trends SSE into Wednesday and Thursday wave period will jump up; denoting the arrival of stronger, better organised groundswell filling in on both days. This will coincide with early SW to SSW winds across the region, ideally suited to the region’s points and bays. The biggest issue will be the exceptional size of this event; potentially large enough to max out many locations until the swell begins to settle during Thursday and Friday – so Wednesday is probably a case of the more sheltered the better.

Latest virtual buoy readings for Southwest Rocks: It probably won't be until Wednesday onwards that stronger SSE groundswell and easing SW to S winds light up select points and bays holding the powerful swell across the Mid northern NSW coast.

Latest virtual buoy readings for Southwest Rocks: It probably won't be until Wednesday onwards that stronger SSE groundswell and easing SW to S winds light up select points and bays holding the powerful swell across the Mid northern NSW coast.

Southern Queensland points light up from Wednesday to Friday: Like mid-northern NSW, the arrival of large, mid period SSE groundswell on Wednesday and Thursday will wrap in north of the border to produce long, rippable point surf under the prevailing southerly wind-regime. The biggest issue probably won’t be the crowds – it will be the sweep. This energetic, southerly angled swell event will have you travelling north at a rate of knots – against your will – not matter which point you decide to hit, so it’s worth managing your expectations accordingly.

Latest virtual buoy readings for Snapper Rocks: The developing SSE groundswell will be easily big enough to push into the points as it really kicks in on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Your biggest problem is likely to be the resulting south to north sweep.

Latest virtual buoy readings for Snapper Rocks: The developing SSE groundswell will be easily big enough to push into the points as it really kicks in on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Your biggest problem is likely to be the resulting south to north sweep.


Tags: Swell , Alert , East , Coast , Ben , Macartney (create Alert from these tags)

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